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Career Development

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Graduation Day:  Now what?

Posted by carzu Jun 18, 2015


They say that you know the future is happening when you start feeling scared.  Getting a degree is usually just the first step in a long journey.   There is a paradox in having that much freedom… it becomes paralyzing.  If every opportunity is open to you it can simultaneously feel like there are none.  It’s the same thinking that tells you that there’s nothing to watch on television even if you have over a thousand channels.  Many newly minted chemists choose to go on to higher education or a postdoc and to defer this freedom until later, but at some point almost everyone will join the workforce. 


A new bachelor in chemistry has spent at least 16 years focused on their education.  If they choose to continue they often go on to spend as much as 23 years of their life studying.  So how long does it typically take after starting the job search to find work? More than two-thirds of graduates who find work do so after only three months job hunting.  Additionally, more than 9 in 10 graduates who find work do so in six months or less. 


Six months may seem like a very long time, but it’s actually to the benefit of the job seeker.  Data from the “ACS Survey of New Graduates in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and Related Fields” shows that longer job searches are correlated with higher salaries.  This may seem counter-intuitive but it actually makes some sense.  Job seekers who spend more time exploring their options tend to hold out for higher salaries and better positions.  It may actually hurt your long term earning potential to accept the first offer that comes your way.  If you’re looking to find out just how much salary you can hold out for the ACS Salary Calculator is a fantastic member benefit that can predict your value in today’s complex marketplace. 


Of course not everyone has the luxury of holding out for the dream job.  With bills to pay, student debt, and the high cost of living something is of better than nothing.  The ACS has career resources for those looking for employment.  At our national meetings we have a career fair, resume review, mock interviews, and more. To learn more visit the ACS Career Navigator.


What are some traits that come to mind when you think of an entrepreneur? Passion, tenacity, extroversion? But what about those passionate, tenacious introverts? Are they forever doomed to work only for other people and never be able to branch out on their own? Medium.com recently featured an article “The Age of the Introvert Entrepreneur” by Gary Vaynerchuk, sets out to disprove this assumption.


It was once the case that if you starting up a new organization and weren’t an extrovert you would have to bring someone on board who could handle your affairs at the various networking events and conferences that were necessary to attend in order to get a new business off the ground. Due to advancements in technology, it is now possible to build a company, talk to people, and make connections in the business world without having to leave your desk. Gone are the days of forced face-to-face networking, now your persona can be determined by building a strong online presence.

Vaynerchuk discusses the importance of being yourself, it will aid you more in success than trying to force yourself to be more extroverted than you actually are. Want to learn more about entrepreneurship?  The ACS Career Navigator offers two Career Pathways WorkshopsTM to guide you on your way to starting your own business, Working for Yourself and Soup to Nuts of Entrepreneurship. Visit the ACS Career Pathways WorkshopsTM page to learn more about how to kick start the next step in your career!

ACS is coming to Binghamton University to present workshops to help STEM students of all fields with career planning and development. 


Register to attend the ACS Career Pathways Finding Your Path workshop on June 9th from 12:30-4:30 pm and the Planning Your Career Development workshop on June 10th from 9:00-11:00 am.

Both workshops will be held in the Academic A room G007.  Lunch will be provided at 12:00 pm on June 9th and a light breakfast at 8:30 am on June 10th.

Workshop Descriptions:

Planning Your Career Development

June 10th from 9:00-11:00am

Consider where your career might take you and how to get there. This interactive workshop will guide you through a four-part process of goal setting, self-assessment, career exploration, and skill strengthening, helping you prepare your own individual career development plan.

Finding Your Path
June 9th from 12:30-4:30 pm


Learn about the four main career pathways available to chemical professionals: Higher education, industry, government, and entrepreneurial careers and why each one may or may not be the right choice for you. This workshop is not only ideal for graduate students and recent grads, but also experienced professionals who are considering a career change. In addition to learning about which types of careers are available in each pathway, you'll also learn about the job market and hiring trends to help you make your choice. The workshop allows time for you to inventory your own values, interests, background, strengths and weaknesses so that you can select which career pathway you'd like to explore in detail.


Please contact Stephen Ambrozik, sambroz1@binghamton.edu, to register.

Sponsored by the ACS Binghamton Local Section, the Binghamton University Chemistry Department and the Binghamton University Graduate Chemistry Club.


Drug discovery and development is difficult and requires knowledge, commitment, insight and perhaps an attitude best described by Winston Churchill (1874-1965)....

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm....”

A major reason for new drug candidate failure 24 years ago was lack of adequate pharmacokinetics (PK) in humans (the ability of the drug to be absorbed into the body, reach the target organ and remain there long enough to yield therapeutic effect)- 48% of new candidates failed in 1991 because of inadequate PK. Seventeen years later in 2008 this rate of attrition was reduced <1% until at present drug failure due to inadequate PK is nearly nonexistent.

This is because of the tremendous increase in the number of inexpensive and predictive in vitro PK assays now available to discovery teams in the development process. My course,
Application of Pharmacokinetics and Safety Pharmacology for Chemists in Drug Development, guides students in the optimal use of these new assays to achieve acceptable PK for new drug candidates. After attending this course students will be able to define PK/PD principles and terminology, review developments in drug discover, investigate the application of drug development principles, and much more.


This blog post was written by ACS Professional Education instructor, Terry Kenakin. Terry is currently a Professor of Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill and instructs courses in pharmacology for the American Chemical Society.  Join us on June 23 for a Reddit Ask Me Anything on r/Science with Terry, who will be drawing from his 32 years of experience in industrial drug discovery to answer your questions! For more information on Terry and the courses he teaches head on over to the ACS Professional Education site.


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The unofficial start of summer is upon us, we are excited for a season of pool parties, family picnics, and vacations. While all of these things are certainly exciting, it also means we are half way through celebrating 50 years of ACS participating in the leadership development of its volunteer leaders.


In recognition of this milestone, and because of the value leadership development can add to your career at all levels, there will be a Symposium focused on business skills titled Leadership Skills as a Strategic Advantage: The Chemist’s Competitive Edge, organized by the Leadership Advisory Board and co-sponsored with Corporation Associates, the Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs, and the Younger Chemists Committee. At this event, recommended by the ACS President, we will share corporate performance data, hear from senior leaders in industry, and learn from the ACS President about the value and opportunities associated with developing as a leader in whatever role you may occupy.


If you are searching for ways to gain your competitive edge in today’s challenging job climate, then consider attending this symposium on Monday, August 17th from 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm during the 250th National Meeting National Meeting and Exposition in Boston, MA. This symposium is appropriate for all chemists at all levels, from first-time industrial job seekers, to experienced academic chemists. For more information and for a schedule of the afternoon’s events please visit http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/careers/leadership/boston-leadership-symposium -2015.html.


The job interview process is similar to a relay race. You submit your application, have a phone screen with HR, and participate in interviews with the hiring manager, team, and department heads. Making it to the final interview is like grabbing the baton and running the last leg of the race, this is where the job won or lost. No pressure, right? Relieve some of the stress of a high pressure situation by making sure that you are prepared for your final interview.


The Muse has a great article called “How to Ensure Your Final Round Interview Lands You the Job” to help prep you for the last leg of the interview process. The article discusses how you should not be afraid to brag about yourself and your accomplishments, but not be afraid to address your weaknesses. Also, it discusses the importance of asking many questions, but knowing when to bring the focus back to you. Lastly, it tells you not to be afraid to laugh and have fun, but know when to be professional. As long as you have a balance between these three juxtapositions you will be able to ace your interview. Swing on by The Muse’s site to read more. Also, be sure to take advantage of the Interview Strategy resources that the ACS Career Navigator™ has to offer.  From prep questions to video guides and a skills guide book, ACS Career Navigator™ is your key to having a competitive edge in your job search.

Every year the ACS conducts a survey on the state of Chemistry careers amongst ACS members in the US. Take a look at what they found:

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Market Intelligence, brought to you by the ACS Career Navigator™, covers the most comprehensive salary and employment information for ACS members and new graduates in chemistry and related fields. Please visit our website to learn more and to access additional reports.

One of the biggest predictors of salary is geography.  Cities have a higher cost of living than rural areas but a higher cost of living requires an equally high salary.  So who pays the most for chemists nationwide?


In the last 2 years, four metropolitan areas have topped the list for highest salaries for PhD chemists working full time: San Francisco, Newark, Houston-Beaumont, and Boston.


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Each of these metropolitan areas has a large amount of chemical employers who attract top talent nationwide.  Among those employers include Genentech, Merck, Chevron Phillips, and Pfizer to name a few.  Larger companies can afford top talent – and they’re willing to pay more for it.

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How does your salary stack up?  There are many variables to consider, and ACS can help you navigate the data.  Members can start with the ACS Salary Calculator where you can enter your skills, degree, and geography to get a very specific portrait for your employment situation.


If you want a more general outlook that is free to the public, try the ACS Employment Dashboard™, where you can view employment, demographic, and salary trends from 2000 to 2014.

The ACS Career Navigator™ had a great time at the 249th ACS National Meeting and Exposition in Denver, CO! Starting on Friday, five Professional Education Short Courses were held and attendees had the opportunity to gain managerial skills and learn more about polymer, analytical or biological/medicinal chemistry. Attendees at the half-day Leadership Development Courses gained valuable leadership skills that could be immediately applied to their professional job or ACS volunteer role.

The ACS Career Fair was a popular spot for members who were looking to expand their career horizons. Thirty-six recruiters from companies interviewed potential candidates and 27 companies on recruiters row were giving out information to attendees. If you weren't ready to interview, ACS Career Consultants were available to give feedback on interview skills and review resumes. ACS Career Pathways Workshops™ were offered throughout the week helping members get a better understanding of what they can expect out of a career in academia, government, industry or entrepreneurship.


ACS Career Navigator™ was also at the ACS Booth,if you stopped by, you were able to play our version of Plinko for a chance to win one of our giveaways or entered to win an iPad Mini!


National Meeting Attendees at the ACS Career Navigator Booth | Photo Credit: Christine Brennan Schmidt



Hope everyone else had a great time at the ACS National Meeting and see you next time! Visit our website for events offered at ACS National Meeting in Boston!

The ACS Career Fair, taking place March 22-24 at the 249th ACS National Meeting in Denver, is your resource to meet and network with top employers in the chemical field. In order to provide you with the best opportunity for success we’d like to introduce you to one of our Featured Employer, SABIC.

SABIC, based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is ranked among the world’s largest petrochemicals manufacturers. SABIC began operations in 1976 by Royal decree and its growth has been nothing short of miraculous. Today, the company has operations in over 40 countries with a global workforce of over 40,000 talented individuals. SABIC is composed of six business units, each headed by an Executive Vice President. These are: Chemicals, Polymers, Performance Chemicals, Fertilizers, Metals and Innovative Plastics. These six operating units make four distinctly different kinds of products:  Chemicals – Chemicals and Performance Chemicals, Plastics – Polymers and Innovative Plastics, Fertilizers, and Metals.


SABIC’s principle corporate offices and headquarters are in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with major industrial operations in the industrial city of Al-Jubail on the Arabian Gulf, as well as in Yanbu on the Red Sea. SABIC’s global presence continues to grow rapidly. Their ambitious plans for expansion are matched by the development of an infrastructure of manufacturing plants, distribution centers, offices and storage facilities worldwide. This enables them to respond efficiently to the needs of their customers in key markets around the world.


SABIC comes to the ACS Career Fair, looking to fill a number of positions.  They are seeking experienced and innovative senior engineers and scientists for their Technical and Application Centers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The SABIC Technical and Application Centers are state-of- the-art facilities for fundamental and applied research. The facilities include bench scale reactors, pilot plants, polymer processing and application equipment as well as state- of- the-art analytical labs. For more information on the open positions please click here.


Register today for the ACS Career Fair today for the opportunity to take part in on-site interviews with this and many other potential employers.

Did you think that your educational needs were met when you completed your degree? In some cases, this might be true. However, as you advance in your career, more professional development may be needed.


In a recent article in Science Magazine, “Leadership Training for Early Career Researchers,” the necessity of leadership training is discussed by several researchers and how they have benefited from leadership training. One story is that of Katie Garman of Duke University’s Department of Medicine. Upon gaining the position, she took management over of a technician, graduate student and clinical fellows and residents. "I really needed to learn more about how to manage a lab and manage a group and obtain a very different skill-set than the one that I had acquired during medical school, residency, and fellowship," Katie said of her need for leadership training.


The article goes on to discuss topics like handling personality differences, leading peers, leadership for women, and admitting when help is needed. Visit our friends over at Science Magazine to read the full article.


Are you in a situation similar to Katie? Whether you are an up- and- coming or existing leader the ACS Career Navigator™ is here to assist you through the ACS Leadership Development System® . Visit our website for a list of upcoming and online courses. Don’t forget, ACS Members receive a discount! 

Yes. In your job, you have to make decisions based on data sets that are uncertain -- repeated measurements that aren't identical; one piece of data that looks like a dreaded outlier; data taken by different analysts. And at the end of the day, you'd like to know how likely it is your decisions will be correct; or, to say it differently, you'd like to know your risk of being wrong about your decision.

For example, instead of saying, "It kind of looks like our product is maybe within specifications -- I guess we can probably ship it," wouldn't it be better to say, "If we choose to ship this product, we can be 99.997% confident that it will meet the customer's specifications; our risk of being out of specification is only 0.00003"? You know your risk of being wrong. It's the better way to run a business.

Yes, a course in statistics will help you.
Want to take an in-person ACS Short Course in statistics? There are four opportunities this year to register for Statistical Analysis of Laboratory Data!

You'll sleep better at night.


This blog post was written by ACS Professional Education instructor, Stanley N. Deming who teaches ACS Short Courses in the areas of experimental design, optimization and statistical analysis of laboratory data.

If you cannot take our in-person course, we offer an introductory online course, Introduction to Statistical Analysis of Laboratory Data.

Your résumé is quite possibly one of the most important things you will ever write. It is your introduction to a potential employer and, as we all know, first impressions are everything.


Are you putting your best foot forward with your résumé? 


The article “20 Things You Should Leave Off Your Résumé and LinkedIn Profile” on Inc.com discusses things that you might want to rethink putting on your résumé. Do you still have the retail job you had in high school on there? You might want to lose it. Were you the reigning hot dog eating contest champ at the Hometown County Fair three years running? Unless your special skill directly relates to the position you are applying for, Inc.com says to leave it off of your résumé. What else should you leave off? Hop on over to Inc.com and read the story now to find out.  Also, make sure to take advantage of the great resources that the ACS Career Navigator™ has to offer. We have guides to help you craft the perfect curriculum vitae for academic positions or write the best résumé for industrial and governmental positions.


No matter what your career needs are, ACS Career Navigator™ is here to help.

Are you being paid what you’re worth? Find out with ACS Salary Calculator.


You aced the interview, you impressed the hiring managers, and you landed the job.  Congratulations! Now you have to start talking salary. They know what they want to offer you, but do you know whether it reflects your value?  When they give you an initial offer, what will be your counteroffer? Information is power, and in any negotiation the person with more information has the upper hand.   You don’t want to sell yourself short, but you also don’t want to overplay your hand. You need the information to find out exactly what your chemistry skills are worth in today’s marketplace.


The ACS Salary Calculator™ will tell you what you could be making.  The tool is designed to show you a range of salaries based off

                                                  years of experience                work specialty

                                                  geography                             employer type

                                                  work sector                           work function

                                                  education                              and more!



In addition to showing you the median salary for your employment situation, the calculator now provides maturity curves that graph how your salary will change over time. 


Anticipating a career change?  You can even enter hypothetical work situations into the salary calculator to explore your options.  Change your geography, change your degree level, or even change your work specialty.


Are you a new graduate in chemistry?  Even if this is your first salary negotiation, the ACS Salary Calculator has information to help you!  It can account for the impact prior internship work experience, grades, geography, and field of degree. 


Try it today!


The ACS Salary Calculator™ is a member-only tool. Not a Member? Join ACS Today!

The key to success in a job interview is preparation, but you already know that. You know to walk in the door cool, calm, and confident. You are dressed professionally and you have researched the company. The hiring manager greets you and you give them a firm handshake and a warm smile. They ask you about yourself, your experience, why you are looking for new opportunities, and why you are interested in their company. You give them strong, polished answers and think to yourself that “you’ve got this.” The hiring manager tells you about the position, the expectations, and the company. Then they ask you if you have any questions and you freeze, this is the one part of the interview that you didn’t prepare for. Jobs can be won and lost based on the questions you do or don’t ask. Don’t let this happen to you.


The article “Three Interview Questions Every Job Seeker Should Know” by Liz Ryan, featured on Forbes.com, discusses job interviews, scripted vs. unscripted, and how the thing that hiring managers are most looking for in interviews is to see your brain working. She draws upon her experience as a former HR manager to advise you that you should be prepared for an interviewer who is going to follow a script and one who may go off book. She lays out three questions that you should definitely be asking in your interviews:

  1. What items are on your hot list, the things you most want and need to have completed and off your plate three months from now?
  2. What is the biggest goal for your department this year, and how would I as a new team member contribute to that goal?
  3. What is the biggest problem you’re looking to hire someone to solve for you?


Are you curious about other things you should be doing, or not doing, in your interviews? ACS has the perfect resource for you. At the ACS Career Fair, held during the National Meeting in Denver, March 22-24, our Career Consultants will be holding mock interviews to help guide you in putting your best foot forward in your job interviews. Register today to take advantage of this outstanding resource!

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